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May 2010 Archives

post_haste_icon.pngI discovered a great organization tool for Final Cut Pro called Post Haste.  It's an app you can download for free to help you set up your asset folders and project files.  Here at GeniusDV, we highly advocate setting up your project folders/files ahead of time, and this handy little app does essentially the same thing with a little "kick start".

Post Haste simply asks for some user defined input such as project number, client, date, editor, etc, and makes a copy of the template folder to either a pre-defined or your choice of location, and renames both the project folder and any files with the name "Template" with the input collected earlier.
post_haste.pngpost_haste_project.pngWhat's nice about Post Haste is the ability to customize it to your own needs.  When you first open the application, you will see a dialog box asking if you wish to customize the template.  Choosing Customize will open up the template folder and allow you to reorganize the folder structure, or copy your own into this folder.  Preferences also allow you to choose how many fields to prompt, provide defaults for any of the fields, auto-format the date field, and more.

The key here is keeping your project files organized, whether you're using Post Haste, or your own media management system; it's going to save you a lot of time and help you to be a more efficient editor.

Taking Screen Shots to be used in Final Cut Pro is a common practice for many. To take a screen shot of the full screen is done by using the Command, Shift, and 3 keys. To select just a section of the screen use Command, Shift, and 4 keys, and click and drag over the desired area. One more way to take a screen shot is to use the Command, Shift, and 4 keys like you would to do a screen shot of an area. After using the Command, Shift, and 4 keys, you hit the spacebar, and you will see a camera appear. the camera becomes your cursor, and whatever window you park over, and then click on, will be copied.

Regardless of what method you use, the screen shot appears as a .png on the desktop. These screen shots/.png's are now ready to be used in Final Cut Pro just like any other image.
You can save a lot of time in Final Cut Pro by scrubbing through the thumbnails in your Browser window to see what a particular clip contains, without having to load it into the Viewer.  First of all, in order to see your thumbnails, right-click in between the columns at the top of the Browser window titled, Name, Duration, In, Out, etc and you will see a whole list of options.  Choose Show Thumbnail

show_thumbnails.pngNow you have a new column of Thumbnails, which shows a picture icon that represents the first frame of media that was captured.  You can change the thumbnail icons to represent a different frame if you want.  Now you can scrub through the thumbnails by clicking on one, holding the mouse button down, and dragging your mouse left and right to scrub through the clip without having to load it into the viewer.
It is important to note that when you have the Thumbnails column in your browser, you cannot double-click on the thumbnail to load it into the Viewer.  The thumbnails are just there for preview purposes, but using them for scrubbing can be a huge timesaver and a great organizer.

Lets say you are producing a trade show video, that you want to be on a continuous loop, it is easy to do with DVD Studio Pro. There are a number of ways to get from Final Cut Pro to DVD Studio Pro.  After you have imported both your audio and video, you simply drag them onto either your Graphical view, or the Track Editor. Once the M2V, & AC3 files are in the Track, you will need to right click on the track in the Graphical view, and set it to be the First Play. After setting the First play, delete the empty menu, because it can cause issues if it's left a part of the Build. Last of all, go into the Track Inspector to set the Track up to loop. Set the End Jump to go back to the Track itself. This will cause the track to continually loop from it's end to it's beginning. Now just Build and Format your DVD, and you're all set!

The Mark Audio Peaks function in Final Cut Pro is a great way to quickly find all of those little "problem areas" in your timeline where your audio is peaking.  It's often an overlooked problem, missing those "hot spots", and an overlooked simple tool you can use to fix them.  To get started, make sure your Timeline is active, and all video and audio clips are unselected.  Navigate to the Mark menu and choose Audio Peaks > Mark.
mark_audio_peaks.pngNow let Final Cut do all the work!  It automatically scans your Timeline and places a mark over any hot spots.  If a section of audio has a peak that lasts longer than a frame, the marker will show a "tail" spanning the duration of the problem area.
audio_peaking_markers.pngBe sure to check out our 4 day Final Cut Pro class to learn more ways to speed up your workflow. 

idustrial_revolution_icon.png5 new free plug-ins for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Motion and Adobe After Effects called Freebie Pack1 were updated and made available this week from Idustrial Revolution.  The plug-ins include World, MultiSpace, iSight Live, Rack Focus, & Opposites.  Personally World is my favorite; it's a sun lit earth generator in 3D space fully equipped with clouds and city lights which you can toggle on or off.

freebie_pack1_controls.pngMultiSpace puts two inputs into 3D space with global & independent XYZ & rotation.  Planes can intersect too.  The only way to animate two images or movies to move together in 3D space in Final Cut Pro!  Anti-Aliasing added also for smoother edges when rendering.  iSight Live lets you get a live input on your timeline in Final Cut Pro, Express, Motion, or After Effects.  Rack Focus racks the blur from one input to the other with one parameter.  Both blur values for each input can be independently set.  Opposites gives you two input basic parameter linking; move one left, the other goes right.  Rotate one clockwise, the other one goes anticlock.  Complete with customizeable font selection, color and drop shadow parameters.  You can get the free download from their website

Henge Docks has a great solution for incorporating your MacBook/MacBook Pro with your own desktop system or home theater system.  The dock occupies limited space and houses all of your connecting accessories in one system, eliminating cable clutter.
hengedocks.pngAs a desktop, Henge Docks puts all your connections in one place, freeing up your desk space.
hengedocks_desktop.pngIn a home theater, browse the web, listen to music and watch movies all from the comfort of your couch.
hengedocks2.pngEach Henge Dock model is designed for a specific type of MacBook computer.  Included with each dock are a full compliment of custom USB, ethernet, audio cables and in some models firewire cables, designed to work with the Henge Dock system.  Be sure to check out their website, and with docks starting at only $60, it's a great solution to integrate.

mousewizard_icon.pngMouseWizard offers some great solutions to make your Apple Magic Mouse more functional.   One complaint I hear a lot about is the fact that the Magic Mouse doesn't allow use of Expose & Spaces.  Well MouseWizard takes care of all that and more.  It's a simple utility to enhance the use of your Magic Mouse and help increase your productivity.  Mouse Wizard allows you to have extra buttons on your Magic Mouse such as pinch, bloat, tap to click, and coverup to make your Mac go to sleep.  And to top that all off, much faster tracking, and the ability to customize it.

The main interface is easy to use, allowing you to configure what type of clicks do what, such as configuring a middle-click for Expose or a fourth click to open Spotlight, etc.  If you need help, there's a handy wizard that takes you through the configuration process by telling you where to place your hands on the Magic Mouse.
mousewizard_screenshot.pngMouseWizard can even turn your Magic Mouse into a stationary trackpad that functions much like a MacBook's built in trackpad.  You can download a free 10 day trial, and with a more-than-reasonable price ($5), MagicWizard is the ultimate companion for the Magic Mouse.

Have you ever wanted photo-realistic renderings using SketchUp?  Then SU Podium is the program to use.  You can now go from a typical SketchUp look to a photo-realistic rendering in just a few steps.

sketchup and podium.gif


Using the video shot on Flip video cameras in Final Cut Pro is a very simple workflow. Flip cameras offer flexibility rivaled only by lipstick camera. I recently purchased a Flip Video camera to be able to have an underwater shot in a production. For less than $200 I was able to purchase an HD Flip Video camera with an underwater housing, and a mini tripod. Personally I am very impressed with what the camera can do, as well as how convenient it is to have with me at all times.

You CAN change the size of your text or fonts displayed in Final Cut Pro, such as in the Browser, Effects, logging bins, & etc.  It's sad that it's necessary for us older kids, but nonetheless, if you find yourself squinting a lot, or you've run over to the local Walgreens to pick up a pair of +2.0 readers, or if you've been working on your system all day and your eyes are just really tired, maybe trying out this simple little trick will help.
change_font_size.pngIt's as easy as navigating to the View menu, scrolling down to Text Size, and choosing Small, Medium, or Large.

view_text_size.pngOR, you can also change your Browser text size under the Final Cut Pro User Preferences:
browser_text_size.pngSo give it a try, and give your peepers a break!  Be sure to check out our Final Cut Pro class schedule and learn to edit with a contemporary workflow.

Here is a great tutorial that shows how to create a Droplet in Apple Compressor:

Google SketchUp is a great 3D design tool and one of the many things that makes it a great design tool is the Google 3D Warehouse.  What makes the Google 3D warehouse great is the ability to organize the abundant supply of completely free user created 3D models.   Anything and everything is on the Google 3D Warehouse.  Collections allow you to sort through anything and everything much easier and faster.  

3D warehouse.gif

miro_video_converter_icon.gifMiro Video Converter for Mac is a free application that gives you a really easy way to convert almost any video to MP4, Ogg Theora, iPod, or a specific phone.  Miro Video Converter has presets that will convert video to the correct sizes and formats for popular phones, iPods, and other media players.  Just convert your video and copy it to your device.  It's so easy a caveman could do it!

This handy little app has presets for a variety of formats and devices, which seems to be an ever-changing hurdle these days.  Supported devices include:  Android phones, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPod Nano, iPod Classic, Google Nexus One, PSP, and more.  Converts virtually any video file to MP4 or Theora including:  AVI, H264, MOV, WMV, XVID, MKV, & FLV.
miro_video_converter_formats.png To use it, just drag and drop a video you want to convert into the application, select your preset, and let it go...it quickly converts your file so all you have to do is add it to your portable device.  The file is saved in the same folder as the video source.  With the intuitive interface, it easily takes the hassle out of converting video, not to mention, it's completely free!

Thumbnail image for revert.pngOf all the Final Cut Pro functions Revert is one of the most misunderstood. The Revert function will take your Final Cut Pro project to the configuration it was at the last time it was saved. Too often Final Cut Pro users confuse the Revert function for the Restore function. When Final Cut Pro unexpectedly closes from power outage or unknown factor, and then is reopened, the Revert function is not available, because the project opens in the last saved configuration. This is the time to use the Restore function.

Saving Final Cut Pro frequently is something that everyone who has every lost any work knows they could have done more frequently. Command S should be a reflex action, and after every set of edits we should be letting that reflex happen. The time that you don't want to save is when you have an "idea" that you want to try. If you save before trying your idea, you will be able to Revert if it doesn't work out. That is a great way to use the Revert function.

Act Focused currently has in development a new color correcting application specifically made for the iPad, due to be released early this summer.  Gradiest, the new app, will allow you to control the color corrections in Cineform's First Light, just as you would with a traditional hardware controller.  They're also currently working on compatibility with other color correction programs such as Apple Color

gradiest_iPad.gifIs it practical to color correct without tactile feedback?  According to Act Focused, yes; "interactions are different without buttons and knobs, but the benefits of a digital interface probably outweigh the drawbacks for many colorists.  A Multi-touch interface is more sensitive than hardware devices can be, and most importantly, more adaptive to your needs."

Being efficient in Final Cut Pro is all about keyboard shortcuts. This is secondary, or in conjunction with keyboard shortcuts for the Mac OS. Two of the top keyboard shortcuts to being efficient with the Mac OS are bringing up the Spotlight with Command+Spacebar, and using Command+Tab to bring up the Application Switcher.



One of my favorite sayings in this business is "we'll fix it in Post."  But in all reality, there are some very basic camera settings that you can adjust that will improve the quality of your footage; whether you're using a small consumer video camera that doesn't have all the settings or a high end pro camera, such as the SonyEX1, the concept is the same.

SketchUp is a great program right out of the box but a great deal of it's capability lies beneath it's simple interface.  SketchUp while it is a fantastic 3D modeling program it can be made even more fantastic by using Ruby scripts to create plugins. Plugins are essentialy additional tools  created by SketchUp users to make an already fantastic 3d modeling program even better..

Ruby Console.jpg
Remember back in the days of Fit-to-Fill Edits?  The newer speed controls nowadays give new solutions to old problems.  Check out this update about the new speed controls in Final Cut Pro 7:

In our 5-Day Final Cut Pro class, our students always got frustrated by the way Final Cut 6 handled speed control. While changing a clip's playback speed was easy enough if you wanted a constant rate of slow- or fast-motion, common tasks like accelerating or decelerating a clip were painful: unlike Avid's velocity-based time graphs, Final Cut's position-based time graphs were anything but intuitive. Unless you were a whiz at high school calculus, visualizing the relationship between position graphs and acceleration (its second derivative, calc whizzes)
took a heap of effort.

Speed Change Dialog

The new speed controls poke their heads up in a few places.  For starters, the basic "Change Speed" dialog box (Modify -> Change Speed or Cmd+J) has a shiny new look: in addition to the old percentage-based and duration-based speed controls, you can instantly add eases to the speed change.  These quick-and-easy controls let you avoid a lot of the reasons you'd formerly need to use a Time Remap graph: to smooth out speed changes, for example, simply adjust the clip's speed then use one of the curved ease options for the clip's Start and End interpolations.

The Speed control dialog box also introduces a "Ripple Sequence" option, which allows you to toggle whether or not the remaining clips in your sequence automatically adjust to fit your new clip.  It's on by default, which is normally the behavior that you expect -- but if you've already got a sequence edited to an audio track, this little option could save you some headaches.

What is a 3D mouse?

A 3D mouse is exactly what it says - it is a computer mouse that functions in a 3D world.  Until recently most software was limited just 2 dimensions but now all that has changed.  We no longer live and design in flatland and designs created in programs similar to Google SketchUp are more and more being created and developed in 3D.  A traditional mouse functions adequately but has serious limitations in navigating in a 3D world.


The world of design is changing and the way you navigate it is changing as well...

SketchUp and Easter Seals design competition.  There are often SketchUp design competitions and this one is of importance because it shows that not only is SketchUp a great 3D modeling program for adults, it is also a great visualizing tool for people on the autism spectrum...

If you do a lot of voice over work, whether it be for radio or TV commercials, film narration, animation, or instructional tutorials, or whatever,  VocalBooth has the solution for you.  VocalBooth provides controlled recording environments for professional voice over results.  Their 4'x6' Gold Series is the most popular unit used for voice over, and I had a chance to step inside one at the NAB 2010 show.  Just enough space to be comfortable standing or sitting for longer sessions.  The acoustically treated interior allows for  precision voice replication and sufficient sound reduction for any environment by reducing the area's ambient noise. 
vocalbooth.gifVocalBooth Features:
  • Fully enclosed for controlled sound environment
  • Carpeted exterior walls
  • Lighting
  • Active ventilation that keeps air flowing without perceptible sound
  • Cable Porting
  • Carpeted floor
  • Optional Caster wheelbase
  • Optional window sizes to customize your view
So whether you're a professional or at home recording artist, voice over artist, even podcaster, you'll hear the difference in an original VocalBooth.  Check it out!


By default when saving templates in Motion to be used as Master Templates in Final Cut Pro, they are saved to the current User. To make Master Templates available to all users on an individual Mac, you need to move them to the base level of the machine.


 You will need to relaunch Final Cut if you make this move while Final Cut is open, otherwise you won’t notice the difference. Aside from the benefit of being able to access the Master Templates from any user, there is also an advantage of being able to share Final Cut Pro project files between machines that share both the Motion template, and the same hard drive name. With most people leaving the name of their internal hard drive as Macintosh HD,  Final Cut Pro project files will find the Motion Template in the same location as they were in on the Mac that created the project file.

google_earth_icon.gifGoogle Earth Pro has many advantages to users in the video industry.  With the ability to show high resolution images, zoom-in to any area on the earth in seconds, and fascinating fly-bys, Google Earth Pro gives users some necessary tools to create a story in real time.

Why Pro version vs. the free version?  Because Google Earth Pro provides licensing to use it in any external purposes such as .kml or movie files, not to mention you have access to Google's inclusive global data.  It's very important to understand that you must have the Pro version in order to be able to use Google's images for video and web distribution. 

A great example of how professionals in Video Production can use Google Earth Pro, is the ability to scout out video shoot locations virtually.  A location scout can virtually set up various camera angles at different times of the day, different times of the year, in order to account for sunlight and shadows, without having to leave their desk!

Additional features of Google Earth Pro include:
  • Fastest performance
  • 4800 pixels for print images
  • ability to integrate GPS data
  • ability to import and overlay images
  • ability to perform batch geocoding
  • measures area
Google Earth Pro has many advantages to many other industries as well such as, Real Estate, Insurance, Architects, Engineers, Utility Companies, State & Local governments, Federal Government, non-profit agencies, and the possibilities are endless!  GeniusDV offers training in Google Earth Pro in conjunction with our 2-day Google SketchUp class, so check out our schedule and give us a call to book your training today!

Here is a really simple trick to reveal text in Final Cut Pro by using the Crop Tool, and without having to go into LiveType or Motion.  Let's say you have a piece of text you want to superimpose at the beginning of a clip, but you don't just want it to flash on and flash off...boring.  Let's give it just a little "umph" without taking up too much of your time. 

  1. In the Viewer window, click on the generators button and scroll down to select Text. 
  2. Make sure your alpha channel (or checkerboard) is turned on.

text_generator.gifmore step by step to follow...


Whether you are using Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, or many otherNLE's the Bella Corporation has a mouse that will improve your editing workflow.The HD Mouse is an incredibly versatile gadget.  I saw this mouse personally on the NAB show floor. This mouse works as a standard usb mouse, but also has a HD mode. In HD mode the mouse has up to 96 different functions. There is an on screen display of the status of certain functions. If you are looking for something to make you a more efficient editor this may be your answer.
If you're like me and like to stay organized, Studio Suite is the perfect Studio Management software that meets the fast-paced demands of users in post production facilities, whether you're solo, pro, small-time, or a corporate in-house production company.  Studio Suite tracks and manages contacts, resources, scheduling, projects, budgeting, invoicing, media assets, labels, equipment and media inventories, communications, maintenance, and even more, all in one comprehensive, customizable, cross-platform package.  Wow...one piece of software that can do all that!

studio_suite_.pngThe more organized you operate your facility, the less time you will spend searching thru calendars, records, misplaced information, and random notes.  No doubt you will be able to increase productivity.  Features of the newest version of Studio Suite include:

  • iPhone application & access
  • Networkable across platforms (OSX-WinXP-Vista)
  • User controlled window management with resizable windows
  • Dynamic Categorization for more flexible resource management
  • 9 New Modules including Production, Employee scheduling, FTP, Budgets, Tasks, Quick Log, Web Request, Categories & Items, and Customizations
studio_suite_equipment.pngImprove efficiency with this all-in-one organizational solution, whether you want to simplify your office, manage your studio, or organize your tech, Studio Suite does it all!  Be sure to check out their website for more info. 

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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